Full Body: Take the darn compliment

Full Body: Take the darn compliment

Allow me to take you to my Spanish class today. When I handed my teacher the homework, she commented that I had “really nice arms”. So what immediately pops out of my mouth? “Yeah if you like sausages.”  To which the teacher responded, “You like sausages?” (she’s from Peru… lost in translation)

Point is, when someone offers me a compliment, I feel the need to add a little bit of self deprecating snark. Do you do this too? Why are we so ready to see the bad and flaws, yet so reticent to jump on the success train?

In my pysch class, forever and a day ago, I heard it takes 5 positive comments to balance one negative. If you have a little inner critic, complaining about body parts all day, is it any wonder the scale leans heavily on the negative?

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to make a conscious effort to take the darn compliment.  With no additives. And not just hear it and brush it off, saying the snarky little comment in my head. Internalize what the person is saying. Give the person’s opinion weight and validation.

Join with me in telling the little monkey in our heads to stop throwing poo. What’s that song? “Accentuate the positive… eliminate the negative…”

No Turning Back

Some people are born without fear. They can charge towards something without a second thought.

I am NOT one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I still finish whatever I start. But that doesn’t mean when I’m about to climb a mountain (real or metaphorical), I don’t stand at the bottom and get vertigo seeing how far away the top is.

mountain

 

If I want to get up that mountain, I’ll do a gut check and realize that the distance is really just an accumulation of steps.  “I can do steps,” I’ll tell myself. “I can break it down and make it 300 ft to that rock.” After I get to that rock then I figure, “I can make it 500 ft to that tree.”

Before I know it, I’m half way. But I’m tired. More likely than not I have a few blisters and the path down is looking pretty good because I don’t want to take another step. Here’s a secret though…

Running away and quitting in the middle has just as many steps back down as going forward to the top. And there’s no way I hauled my butt up half a mountain just to pack in my trail mix. So as long as I can keep moving, it’s going to be up.

One of the keys to fighting fear is making a commitment that there’s no turning back. Because as long as I see heading back down as an option, I’ll keep nervously looking over my shoulder at the possible way out. Once I choose to take away that option, something miraculous happens: peace. Peace and determination that all I have to do or think about is taking those steps forward.

Whether its easy, hard, slow or fast — doesn’t matter. Just get there and enjoy the view from the top. It’s much better than the one from the bottom.

climbingmountains

 

A New Develop-Mynt

So I’m very excited about a new path I am going to be taking in addition to writing. I’ve been asked to be a fitness and personal consultant with a company so new it just barely got a name – Mynt.

I get to coach and hang out with buff cool celebs like Kass Martin – the Zumba Girl, Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello – America’s favorite married dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, and Noelle Pikus Pace – Sochi Olympian in Skeleton that is going to take it all the way.

Since everything is still in the building stages, I will just have to leave it at the fact that it’s going to be awesome.

Stay tuned for future updates.

Making goals that stick – any day of the year

Happy day after new year! I felt the need to make a resolution post on any day BUT New Years. There is a point to that, besides non conformity. You see, you can make goals and changes in your life at any given time, not some arbitrary day. No excuses of “Oh, I missed it. Maybe next year.” BZZZZ. Wrong. Start today. Start next week or month. Just start and know that you can finish. And I’m gonna help.Starting Line

So Step One of making a successful goal resolution etc . . . Create ACTION SPECIFIC GOALS. Word what you want to do as opposed to what you want to happen.

Example of what not to do. “I’m going to lose 50 lbs this year.”

That is a result. And it’s outside of your control. Your body may not be able to drop that weight due to medical conditions of other factors out of your control. So if you only lose 30 are you a failure?

Try this instead. Same idea, just stating what you’ll DO.

“I’m going to be healthier this year by exercising daily and controlling my portions.” (eating more veggies, counting calories– whatever you want to alter in your eating habits. Eat less move more concept.)

The above is a goal you can take a day at a time and succeed every single time.  You control what you do, the actions you take.  Weight loss might be a happy bi-product of these actions, but your success of a goal doesn’t hinge on something you can’t control.

Some people might say, “Well, aren’t those two goals the same thing?”

Kind of, but the approach and how you look at it are different. Some of the best things in life were already there, but all we need is a little shift in perception to see it.

Upside Down Boy

Before I became a finisher, I would make lofty goals and some cockamamy plan to get there. “I’m going to be a size 2 by summer.” Or “Get my dream job.” I’d bust my hump for a month or two, but the results that I thought I should have, the ones I’d set in my goals weren’t happening for me. So I gave up, gained back the 30 pounds and stopped trying to writing a book. Then I spent the rest of the year feeling like a loser that couldn’t do anything.

Now I lament those years I wasted. I made my expectations and goals based on things outside my control. They were dependent on luck, someone else’s whims and biology. Instead of wallowing in the shame spiral or blaming my failures on the things outside my influence, I needed to shift my goals on the changes I could make.

Everyone has dreams. Things they want to happen. Those are good and we should work towards those things in the GOALS we make. Some day I want to have a best selling smash hit novel. So that’s my want. Now I’m going to make goals to help me get there. I can’t have great book that everyone loves if I don’t write a book that I love. So this year I’m going to write the best possible book that I can. One that I love. That’s a goal I can absolutely finish if I put the time, effort, and love into. What happens after THE END is out of my control. But I will have successfully completed my goal for the year that gets me closer to my want. My DREAM.

So when you are ready, figure out what you WANT in life. It’s not set in stone, it can change. Then figure out some of the actions you need to take to get there. GOALS completely within your control. Then make that promise to yourself, and do what you set out in that goal.

I may get my dream this year, or next, or a decade from now. But that isn’t the point. As long as I keep walking forward, doing the best that I can, I keep piling these successes up.

I keep becoming a better and happier person.

And THAT dear friends, is the entire point in this marathon we call life, isn’t it?

When life gives you snow, make a snow caterpillar

I hate the snow. A lot.

However, when my daughter woke up to discover snow, she was bound and determined to make a snowman.  She’s 4. And after watching FROZEN, she pretty much decided that all snowmen could talk. So she was devastated when she figured out that not only did she not have ice magic, but that the snow was too dry and powdery to roll into snowman balls.

She cried. I nearly cried because she would not go inside without her snowman, therefore I could not go in either.

Enter the snow caterpillar. She was pretty skeptical at first, but after some bumps and a few fishy crackers, a new friend was born.

Photo: What happens when the snow is too powdery to roll?<br />
Snow caterpillar!!

He has since turned into an ice dragon, which everyone knows is so much cooler than a snow caterpillar or a snowman.

I’m going to keep the lesson of the snowcatepillar in mind as I make my goals for 2014.  I may have a vision for what I’d like to happen. Unfortunately, life NEVER works out the way I predict. But if I can be flexible and keep working with what I’ve got, I will end up with something even cooler.

As much as I wanted to go inside after the first snow failure, I’m glad my daughter and I stuck it out in the 12 degree weather. Disappointment transformed into frozen delight and failure into success.

I hate the cold. And the snow. But I hate giving up even more.

Snack Smart: Egg-cellent protein

Remember those commercials — The incredible edible egg? This food is often slammed for cholesterol, but it has good fats as well as a complete protein with a full compliment of amino acids.

I am not advocating swallowing a half dozen raw eggs or anything, but a couple, hard boiled or scrambled, makes for an excellent small meal. Or add lots of spinach or fresh veggies to make an omelette. Be sure to skip the greasy butter.

Whenever possible, try to use organic or farm fresh eggs. From chickens not fed antibiotics or steroids. Here’s what I collected from my gorgeous gals this morning. Perfect dinner for me and my two kids. And easy enough that even I can’t screw up the cooking :)

Snack Smart: Dessert Budget

Anyone who has ever tried to go without sugar or treats can probably tell you… it doesn’t last very long. And if you fall off the dessert wagon, it can be a rough landing. Here’s an idea to try.

Within your daily budget (caloric budget) allot 100-200 calories at the end of the day for your favorite treat. (chocolate!!) but there’s a catch. If you blow your budget by the end of the day, and don’t have enough calories left in your bank… no treat for you. Reward yourself for sticking to your goals and calorie count. And you are having just the right sized portion too.

Sometimes, this is what helps me resist the chips or the extra big lunch — knowing that at the end of the day, I have a favorite goodie waiting for me.

Fitness Tip: Modifications

Now that I’m a fitness instructor, (sport yoga), I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of modifications.

A lot of people are afraid to go to fitness classes because they feel they might not be up to snuff physically. It might be too hard. A good teacher will be able to tell you low impact modifications or how to lighten up on weights.

I have people in my yoga classes that can put their feet behind their ears. In the same class I have a man that can’t touch his toes. So I make sure to give a few versions of the same pose so that everyone gets just the right workout for them.

So don’t be afraid to speak up if something is a little too tough for you to do right now. If you have a quality instructor, they’ll give you a few options to tone it down a notch or two.

The Origin of Happiness

When I say “Happiness”, what does that invoke in your mind?

Is it this?

File:Tiffany Doorn 2.jpg

or this?

File:Buzz Tweed.jpg

 

A few years ago my vision of happiness was a combo of those. I could be happy … when I was a size two. Things would be easier … when we were making more money.

I thought I conquered my demons with the lessons I learned in my book, Finished being Fat. I was wrong.

While I no longer obsessed about my waistline or my own self value, I began to obsess about how others valued me. What I used to share out of interest became a job where my success was determined by someone else. The amount of views received, the likes on a page. How many books I sold that month. If my post on Facebook didn’t receive a certain amount of comments or thumbs up, then something must be wrong with me. I began to hate logging on or sharing, because I dreaded not receiving the validation I thought I was supposed to have. Eventually, all my interactions and dealings seemed to be for a specific purpose as opposed to real enjoyment and friendship. 

I felt very lonely and depressed. All my dreams had come true: I was fit, a published author — what was I doing wrong? Everything and nothing.

As I have learned from my previous journey, a lot of things can be changed with a simple shift in perception. I needed to look at things differently.

Here’s how it happened. I was lying in bed eating coconut pancakes (so good, I will post the butter substituted recipe later)  with my kids. I had the distinct thought “Life just doesn’t get any better”. In that moment, I was truly happy. It didn’t take long for my neurotic tendencies to seep in and I began to worry about something or other and the warm fuzzies died and sunk into my gut along with the carbs.

The lightbulb went on in my noggin.

Nothing had changed. A house hadn’t fallen on my sister. No outside force had changed my feelings, my own thoughts had. The origin of happiness (or unhappiness) was my own mind. Even though I no longer had the model picture taped to my mental fridge, I had subconsciously pinned expectations of what happiness looked like and it depended a lot on how I reflected through other people’s eyes as opposed to my own. Suddenly, I wasn’t unhappy because I wanted to look a certain way and didn’t. I was unhappy because I was afraid everyone else wanted me to look a certain way. That I was a disappointment and didn’t meet another’s expectations of what I should be- despite doing my best and meeting my goals.

Then the superwattage grow lights illuminated my brain fog — I was being stupid. Again. Without meaning to, I gave over control of my life’s steering wheel. I let results determine my success as opposed to the completion of the acts themselves.

I needed an amendment on happiness to go along with the Philosophy of Finishing. After a lot of soul searching, here’s what I came up with.

Happiness is not a destination, it is in each footstep I make along the journey. It cannot be found or taken away in the things I have or that happen to me. Only I have the power to build or destroy it within myself.

So here’s my little bit of fortune cookie wisdom.

Sing because you enjoy it, not because you want to be the next American Idol.
Write because you have something to say, not because you need people to hear it.
Give because you want to share, not because you want to be thanked for it.
Be fitter so you feel healthier, not because someone says you should look a certain way. (even you)

If you do that, you will find happiness in your actions, whether or not you cut a record, become a best-seller, or get the smokin’ hot bod you envisioned.

Positive results or accolades are always welcome and a bonus, but I think if I set my focus on enjoying the act itself, I can find joy no matter where I am or who sees it.

File:2010 - A year plenty of Hopes.jpg

Budgeting Time

If you read this blog regularly, you are familiar with the concept of the calorie budget. I have recently learned that other things need to exist on a budget… aside from my credit cards.

Time is a tough thing to learn to budget, and there is no way to borrow it. You can’t take out a line and pay it back later. There are only 24 hours in a day. How you divide that time is your budget. If you allocate too much time to a goal, and not enough for sleep, everything suffers.  On the other side, if you don’t allocate enough time to your goal, like marathon training or fitness, reaching that goal will be next to impossible to read.

It’s a fine line of finessing. One I don’t have quite figured out yet. I’m done with marathon training, so I have that chunk free. I finished certifying as a yoga instructor. But now I am working on the rewrites of a third book, a young adult fractured Oz fairy tale, and it is eating all my time. If word count is any indication, it’s getting fat.

The point is, I am making a choice. By budgeting my time sitting and writing, that means less time to hit the gym. Less time reading to my kids. No time to do housework. If I was attempting to write a book and run a marathon and have the perfect house… guess how many of those goals I would actually achieve. A poor time budget often leads to quitting a project in the middle. Finish it. Put in the time and effort necessary to get it done.

Choose your goals wisely, then budget your time with equal care.

Snack Smart: Fruit Ap-peel

I don’t care what so called experts say, fruit makes a great snack. You’ve probably heard its bad since its high in fructose. Yes, that’s true. But not high fructose corn syrup, natural god made sugars. And the creator is pretty smart. Fruits have a build in mechanism to help break down and transform those enzymes.

The peal

The fiber of the peal has a chemical effect on how we digest the fructose. So it drives me crazy when people go to all the trouble of pealing an apple. Don’t! It’s not a PB&J sandwich you take the crust off of. Teach your kids to like it with the peel.

Obviously you are not going to eat a banana peel, or an orange rind. But things like apples, pears, peaches, plums… Leave em be.